ROSEVILLE ATTORNEY’S LAW LICENSE IN JEOPARDY FOR FORECLOSURE ASSISTANCE SCAM
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 18, 2013 – Less than five years after she was admitted, a Sacramento area attorney is poised to lose her law license in connection with a foreclosure rescue scam.
Kristin Lynn (Crone) Day [bar # 269679], 34, of Roseville, stipulated to 10 counts of misconduct including aiding in the unauthorized practice of law, sharing fees with non-lawyers, failing to perform legal services with competence, failing to return unearned advanced fees, collecting an illegal fee and moral turpitude. The stipulation, in which Day admitted to the charges and agreed to be disbarred, must be approved by the California Supreme Court.
According to the stipulation, filed today in State Bar Court, Day formed a partnership in February 2011 with non-lawyer Brandon Steffon Hintz called United Foreclosure Attorney Network that purported to provide mortgage litigation and other debt-related services. Day signed at least 30 contracts with legal assistants who solicited and signed up new clients and engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by conducting initial client consultations, making determinations about whether to accept representation of the client, and providing legal advice – all without Day’s supervision.
Many of the homeowners who sought help from Day’s company to save their homes were already in foreclosure or had tried loan modification and been denied. The legal assistants worked from a script, claiming that litigation could hold off foreclosure and that it was the client’s best bet to reduce their mortgage payments. United Foreclosure Attorney Network paid a portion of the advanced fees it collected from clients to Mitigation Professionals, an outside entity that supervised the legal assistants, which would then share some of the money with the individual legal assistants.
At least one of United Foreclosure Attorney Network’s clients lived outside California – in Pennsylvania, where Day is not admitted to practice law. Day has been ordered to pay $41,578.50 plus interest in restitution.
Day’s stipulation is the latest in the State Bar’s ongoing efforts to fight loan modification fraud. Between February 2009, when the bar began tracking the problem, and Oct. 31 of this year, the Office of Chief Trial Counsel received 13,200 complaints regarding loan modification, 10,210 of which proceeded to the investigation stage.
The State Bar has pursued disciplinary charges in approximately 1,654 cases of those cases, involving roughly 211 licensed California attorneys. Of those cases, approximately 1,225 cases have resulted in discipline (involving 165 attorneys) and 697 of those cases have resulted in disbarment (involving 57 attorneys). Approximately 393 cases (involving 50 attorneys) are still pending before the State Bar Court, with another 208 matters (involving 86 attorneys) under active investigation.
Members of the public who have a problem with a lawyer should call the State Bar’s complaint hotline at 800-843-9053.
The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. By November 2013, membership reached 244,000.